“We had absolutely no intention of moving anywhere during a pandemic,” Audrey Johnson said over the phone as we got to know her and her husband, Peter, two of the newest residents at The Overlook in Charlton, Massachusetts.

However, the more we spoke with the Johnsons, the more it became clear that they are glad they made the move when they did. Even despite the circumstances.

“The whole process went very well,” Audrey added. “The reception we received was phenomenal. Everyone gave us a smile, and we felt welcomed even though we didn’t have the same opportunity to get accustomed to the community as we would have before COVID-19.”

Furthermore, Audrey was amazed at the lengths to which the community went so that everyone remained safe both during and after their move.

“The Overlook made everything as safe as possible for us new residents and everyone else in the community,” she said. “We had a team of people come in and disinfect everything immediately after we moved in; our meals were delivered, and staff would check on us as we self-quarantined for seven days. It was very controlled and precise.”

“It was different, but it was still pretty easy,” Peter said. “It was a very good entrance even though it was COVID-19 times.”

Now that they’ve settled in, they’re excited for a bright future at The Overlook, filled with possibilities and peace of mind. Let’s get to know this energetic couple a bit better!

Choosing The Overlook among other options near and far

Audrey and Peter moved to The Overlook in early October 2020 from Ashland, Massachusetts, about 40 minutes away. Their previous house was in a 55+ community, which is actually where they started hearing about Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) like The Overlook.

“A couple of the people we knew at the 55+ community had decided to move to CCRCs, so we started looking at those,” Audrey said. “Some of our friends thought we were too young to move to a CCRC, but our logic was that we wanted to be able to enjoy all the amenities and lifestyle while we’re young, and be a part of a true community as we age.”

So, their search for the perfect CCRC led them to strongly consider communities in Massachusetts, North Carolina and even Florida. However, at the end of the day, the fact that two of the Johnsons’ four sons and eight of their 14 grandchildren live within 30 minutes of The Overlook helped seal the deal.

“We did not want to have to fly to family events or have to travel far to see our grandkids as often as we would like,” Peter said. “So, once we focused on CCRCs in Massachusetts, The Overlook ended up heads above the rest. We loved the acreage, walking trails and hilltop location.”

Peter and Audrey also explained that, in addition to remaining close to their children and grandchildren, choosing The Overlook in particular—a CCRC with CMS five-star-rated healthcare—would be a gift of permanent peace of mind for them and their kin.

Peter elaborated by saying, “We didn’t want our children to be burdened with our care in the future. If we have a legacy to present to our kids, now it’s that they won’t have to worry about taking care of us.

“A lot of people think that the time to move is always five to 10 years out, but we realized that if we waited to that point, moving would have seemed overwhelming,” he added. “We wanted to move while we were not set in our ways—and we didn’t want to have to make our own healthcare decisions from a hospital bed in Framingham [Massachusetts]. We wanted a plan in place, so everyone knew what was happening.”

The Johnsons’ proactive approach is admirable, and now, with a totally secure future, they can focus on enjoying all the great parts about independent living at The Overlook!

Ready for a bright future

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, Peter and Audrey haven’t yet experienced the full scale of community life at The Overlook. But that hasn’t dulled their spirits one bit.

“The community is really doing its best to keep people connected during this time,” Audrey said. “We’ve already gotten to enjoy a couple of concerts outside in the rose garden, and just the other week we enjoyed pretzels and beer from the Brew Crew out on the common.”

The Johnsons mentioned that so far, they have also enjoyed using The Overlook’s pool and fitness center regularly, and Audrey has participated in the virtual art classes. They both enjoy spiritual circle as well.

“We have found plenty of things to do here, and we can also do things outside of the community,” Pete explained. “Last night, for example, we were down in Uxbridge for a grandchild’s soccer game, so we’re still involved in outside activities too.”

Whether on or off campus, Audrey and Peter look forward to getting more involved like so many other members of the community have done. For example, in the new year, Audrey hopes to lead a women’s Bible study group. And based on what she has experienced so far, getting new neighbors and friends to join her will be effortless.

“There’s an attitude here that people really want to be a part of this community,” Audrey said. “People didn’t come here to just put their feet up; they came here to serve others and be involved and make the community better for everyone. That goes for the staff, too.”

For now, the Johnsons are happily settled into their Maple residence, one of 14 spacious apartment floor plans available at The Overlook. They’ll continue partaking in events and activities as circumstances allow, and they share a positive outlook on the future of their retirement adventure, which is just getting started.

“We’ve been happy here and are looking forward to a lot,” Audrey said. “We think it’s good now, so it’ll be great when COVID-19 goes away. We are looking forward to a good future here, a very good future!”

To learn how The Overlook in Charlton, Massachusetts, can be the center of your ideal retirement, even during COVID-19 like it has been for the Johnsons, we invite you here for a tour. Private, in-person visits as well as flexible virtual tour options are available. Just click here or call 508-434-2318 to get in touch!

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